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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins


A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Orange is the Happiest Color

It is not very often that i bake cheese cakes.  The problem is they keep calling out to me whenever they are in my fridge.   I love them so it's easier to refrain from baking than to refrain from eating! 

I had this block of cheese leftover after i made a cake for my son's class party, just the excuse for me to make myself one :)  I didn't have that much left, only 250g, so i thought a Japanese style cheese cake would suit it well.  And i was craving for something orangey. Orange is my favorite fruit and i like its bright sunshiny color. I must agree with Frank Sinatra to a certain extent, "Orange is the happiest color" so he said :)

I did a search and landed on Ann's recipe which she posted in 2010. I know Ann bakes gorgeous stuff but when i saw this cake of hers, i was like 'wow' she was baking gorgeous cakes even way back then :)  I absolutely love this cake.  It has a very fine texture that was light and airy and the orangey tang is just heavenly for orange lovers like me.

 Light, airy and tangy!

I substituted corn flour with potato starch and i am wondering if it had a hand in making the cake lighter, hmm...any thoughts my friends?

Reference: Anncoo Journal

  • 250gm Cream Cheese, soften
  • 250ml Milk
  • 120gm Butter
  • 50ml Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 nos Orange Rind, grated (Zest from 1 big orange)
  • 6 nos Egg yolks (Medium size eggs)
  • 60gm Sugar
  • 70gm Cake / Plain Flour
  • 20gm Corn Flour (Potato Starch)
  • 6 nos Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar (omitted)
  • 60 gm Sugar
  1. Melt cream cheese and milk over a double-boiler, strain using a wire mesh sieve to get a smooth mixture.
  2. Remove from heat and add in butter, stir until butter melted.
  3. When mixture is cool, add in ingredients (B) and (C). mix well.
  4. Mix ingredients D and sieve into mixture in 3 batches.
  5. Mix well until mixture becomes thick.
  6. Whisk egg white and cream of tartar till frothy.
  7. Add in sugar (2 batches) and continue whisk until peak foam.
  8. Mix egg whites to cheese mixture with a spatula (in 3 batches).
  9. Pour batter into a 10" lined square cake tin (8 inch round removable base pan plus a 3 inch paper liner).
  10. Bake at preheat oven 150'C with water bath for 1 hour 10 mins.
  11. Leave the cake to cool in the oven with door ajar for 30 minutes- 1 hour.  This is to prevent the cake from shrinkage with sudden change of temperature.
  1. My variations in blue.
  2. For water bath effect, place 4 tart moulds filled with hot water in 4 corners of oven.  You do not need to wrap the pan with aluminium foil with this method.
  3. Tent the cheesecake by covering it with aluminium foil loosely when half way baked (about 20-30 mins) to prevent cheesecake from over browning.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Ribs the Vietnamese Way

Yes, that's pork ribs you are staring at in case you can't make out what it is!  Unfortunately that is the best photo that i can find for this dish even after changing plates, with garnish, without garnish, this angle, that angle etc, etc, etc and yet this is what i got.  I am sure fellow bloggers can relate to this.  Must have been my bad photo day.  Sometimes it's just so hard to get one nice photo.  I was contemplating whether to post it.   The good thing is it tasted delicious, it's just the photo that isn't doing it justice.  So, since i did do my homework, I will add it to my Asian Pork Ribs collection (if you have been following me on this) for good or for bad :)

This is really another simple recipe to add to the other 2  equally simple Vietnamese recipes (not that all Vietnamese dishes are simple, difficult ones are just not within my territory).  I think grilling is the more popular method with ribs but i am not doing the grill in this hot weather.  This recipe requires the meat to be marinated then pan fried for awhile before adding in water to braised the dish for the meat to be tender.

The addition of lemon grass and ginger made it really fragrant, good enough to  pique hubs' interest to  ask what was for dinner.

Adapted from: Wandering Chopsticks

  • 800g pork ribs
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, finely minced
  • 1 chili pepper, finely minced (omitted)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt  
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water 
  1. Combine lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chili pepper and finely mince everything in a food processor until a rough paste is formed.
  2. Add honey, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt and ground black pepper to the paste. Then slather the marinade all over the pork ribs.  
  3. Leave the ribs in the fridge to season for 1-2 hours.
  4. In a large sauce pan on high heat, drizzle a bit of oil and quickly sear the ribs. Add 1 cup of water, cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Check from time to time and make sure nothing's burning, stirring occasionally and make taste adjustments or add water if necessary. The marinade will gradually thicken into a rich sauce.
  1. The original recipes calls for pork chops which i substituted with pork ribs.
  2. I reduced the amount of water from 2 cups to 1 cup and adding about another 1/4 cup when the gravy starts to thicken.
  3. I used Thai fish sauce instead since it was on hand.

"I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indochina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks."

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wu Pao Chun Loaf with a Japanese Twist

Some of you might have come across the Wu Pao-Chun milk loaf by now.  A recipe that has been popular with quite a few Asian food bloggers recently.  I caught the bug too and gave the original recipe a try here.  The results are satisfying and I like the recipe for its simplicity.  One that you can rely on when you realised too late that there's nothing for breakfast tomorrow.  Pop everything in the bread maker and you will wake up to a freshly made loaf the next morning!

This one here is a variation of the original recipe.  The inspiration came from Baking Taitai who spiced up the plain milk loaf with matcha (green tea) and white chocolate chips.  I didn't have any white chocolate chips on hand but i had white chocolate Toblerone, and yes you can guess what happened :))  Apart from that, I added some craisins for the color and tang to cut through the entire sweetness.

Quite an enjoyable breakfast it made even when eaten on its own. The bread was creamy from the addition of chocolate, lightly scented with a fresh green tea fragrance which reminded me of green tea latte and the cranberries provide some bite and a tangy flavor.  

I noticed the dough took longer to rise than the original recipe, just have some patience and wait until it doubles its size.  The other thing that puzzles me is there was some shrinkage, i suspect it was because i removed the loaf immediately after i took it out of the oven,  i am wondering if its because the loaf was still very soft when it was hot and it got a little compressed when the pan was inverted!

Inspired By: Baking Taitai

  • 290g bread flour
  • 10g matcha powder
  • 14g sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 198g milk
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 3 triangular pieces of Toblerone 400g
  1. Mix all ingredients (except butter, chocolate and craisins) into a dough using low speed, then use medium speed to knead it into a shiny and smooth texture.
  2. Add in the unsalted butter, then knead it using medium speed until it forms dough that can be stretched into a thin, translucent membrane.
  3. Mix in white chocolate and craisins.
  4. Proof the dough for about 60 minutes. (Until about double the size)
  5. Punch dough down and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll into a rectangular shape with one side not longer than length of pan/tin that will be used for baking.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll from the shorter side.
  7. Turn dough 90 degrees.  Roll it into a rectangular shape again as in step 6.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll again.  Seal seams and place in pan.
  8. Place it on the baking tray and go for final proofing for another 50 minutes. (I used a Pullman tin for a 450g loaf and put it to bake when it was 90% full .  I baked it uncovered)
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 30 – 35 minutes
  10. Remove the bread from the pan after 5 minutes and cool on rack to prevent sweating.  
Note:  I combine all the ingredients (except chocolate and craisins) and let my breadmaker handle steps 1, 2 and 3 using the Sweet Bread program.  The Sweet Bread program will beep signalling the point to add in ingredients like raisins or nuts.  Add in chocolate and craisins at this point.  I stopped the program once its reaches the Rise stage.


Friday, 20 June 2014

Bread Basics~ Buns with Chicken Floss

Here's another variation from a basic bun recipe that i love using.   I have been using this same recipe for so many times that it comes naturally without having to make any reference.  Sounds boring? Hey, but they say repetition is the root of many great things like perfection, reputation, fashion, believe etc, etc, etc! 

I remember going crazy about chicken floss buns.  These buns were made popular by a particular bakery chain in Singapore.  At that time before the bakery chain hit our shores, hubs will bring some back occasionally when he goes down south to Singapore on business.  They don't come cheap though when we take the currency exchange into consideration, roughly around RM4 per bun at that time.  Now that they are in town, they are not any cheaper though.  So, the best brand is still in the house, cheaper and filled to the brim with floss :))

It really is something achievable at home.  All it takes is a good milk bun as the base, spread on some condensed milk/mayonnaise before wrapping/topping it with some chicken/pork floss.  I like doing it both ways, wrap some floss into the buns before baking then top them with more floss when they are out of the oven.  That way you get a double dose of floss and it makes the buns so, so tasty!

Bread Dough recipe here

Chicken Floss Buns

  • Chicken/Pork Floss
  • Condensed Milk/Mayonnaise 
  1. Divide dough into 70g portions.  Set aside and let dough rest for 10 minutes. 
  2. Flatten dough then spread on a thin layer of condensed milk. Sprinkle a layer of chicken floss then roll it up and seal the seams tightly.
  3. Arrange on greased tray.
  4. Cover and rest buns until double the size again.
  5. Glaze with egg mixture (refer Part D of bread recipe) or if fresh milk mixed with water on 1:1 ratio. 
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 17 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove buns from tray and let them cool on a wire rack.
  8. When buns are cooled, make a cut in the centre of the bun.  Spread on some condensed milk into the slit and on top of the bun.  Sprinkle more floss to coat the buns.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Let's Chill It

The weather is just scorching hot these days where we are.  To combat this discomfort (preparing, eating and after eating), i make simple meals and chilled Japanese meals is one good option. Hiroshi Chuka, a cold ramen all in one meal is one that we enjoy a lot.  It is a very attractive dish with vibrant colors, healthy, light, delicious and easy to prepare.  A sesame-vinegar-soy dressing which is tangy and savoury is poured over the noodles and all the toppings before giving it a good mix. 

My son can never get enough of this :)  He doesn't mind having it for all meals in a day.

Source: Just One Cookbook

Noodle Dressing 
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce (4 tbsp)
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar (2 1/2 tbsp)
  • 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil (1 tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp. water (1 tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp. grated ginger (omitted)
  • ½ – 1 tsp. La-yu (Japanese Chili Oil) (omitted)
Shredded Egg Crepe
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Oil
Other Toppings
  • 6 shrimps + 1 Tbsp. sake
  • 1 Japanese cucumber (1/3 English cucumber), julienned (1/2 Japanese Cucumber)
  • 1 iceberg lettuce, shredded (1 head romaine lettuce)
  • ½ tomato, cut into wedges (1 tomato)
  • 3-4 slices hams (2 slices)
  • 4-6 imitation crab sticks (or crab meat), shredded
  • Kaiware radish sprouts (omitted)
  • 3 6-oz fresh ramen (chukamen) noodles (2 noodles)
For Garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds (sprinkle to hearts content)
  • Karashi hot mustard (optional) (1 tbsp chilli flakes)
  • Pickled red ginger (beni shoga) (optional) (omitted)
  1. Combine all the noodle dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk all together. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook on both sides.
  3. Cool the crepe and cut it into thin strips.
  4. For shrimps, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add sake and shrimp and cover with the lid. The alcohol in the sake will help remove the smell and tender the meat. Turn off the heat when the color of shrimp started to change and let it cook with remaining heat. Do not overcook otherwise shrimp will become hard. Transfer shrimps to a plate and let them cool. 
  5. If you are using uncooked ham, pan fry it.  Cool and cut into thin strips.
  6. I blanched the crab sticks in a pot of boiling water to cook it. Cool and cut into thin strips.
  7. For the noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, separate the noodles before dropping into water. Cook according to package directions. Drain the water and rinse the noodles to remove starch. Soak the noodles into a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain completely and divide the noodles on plates/bowls.
  8. Place all the toppings and pour the dressing before serving. 
  9. Serve with karashi hot mustard and pickled ginger on the side, if desired.
Other topping options (as suggested by Nami) include shredded steamed chicken tender, blanched bean sprouts (blanched), wakame seaweed, nori seaweed strips, etc.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Boss in Our House

It's Father's Day today.  Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there!  Have you  pampered yours yet?  We decided to do it on a lighter note this year.  Here's the teaser that we made for the Dad in our house for the record :))

The 'boss' in our house was grinning from ear to ear when presented this to him.

Since he loves light and simple cakes, i decided not to go with heavy frosting but just to dust it with some icing sugar using homemade stencils.  I chose to make a chinese style sponge cake which was traditionally steamed but made popular recently in the blogsphere with a baked version. 

I love the taste of this cake, soft but slightly chewy and mildly sweet.  The dusting didn't impact its overall sweetness, fortunately. This cake is made using the egg separation method in the same manner chiffon cakes are.  My only fear for this type of cakes are cracks and true to murphy's law it did!  Not a big deal for this time since it was for the family, i turned the cake upside down and got a smooth top to continue with my plan for the decoration.  I will have to give it another try with a lower temperature to find the right temperature that will not be too hot and cause the cake to crack.

Source: Baking Diary who adapted from Anncoo Journal

  •  3 Egg whites
  •  65g Icing sugar
  •  3 Egg yolks
  •  1 Whole Egg
  •  50g Corn oil
  •  65g Self raising flour
  •  5g Cocoa powder + 1 tbsp hot water
  1. In a mixing bowl, mix egg yolks and whole egg together with a hand whisk. Add in corn oil and mix till combined. Sieve in self raising flour and mix well, set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg whites to bubbly at medium speed and add icing sugar into it in 3 batches and whisk to stiff peaks.
  3. Add one third of meringue to egg yolk mixture and fold well with a rubber spatula.  (I used the whisk)
  4. Pour all the egg mixture into the meringue at low speed and mix well. (I used the whisk and spatula to mix)
  5. Pour mixture into a 5 x 8 inch lined cake pan (or a 6 inch square cake pan), leaving 2 tablespoon of plain mixture and mix with the cocoa paste (I used a 6 inch round pan)
  6. Drizzle the cocoa mixture on top of the plain batter and use a skewer to draw lines or create your own pattern.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for 35 minutes. (I baked mine at 160C for 35 mins)
  8. Invert the cake immediately once cake is out of the oven. Leave to cool before cutting into slices.  
Do hop over to Jeannie's to check out her cake, hers look really pretty with the chocolate pattern and no cracks were visible (although she mentioned that there were).  She baked hers at 140C for 45 minutes.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Mesmerizing Swirls

I have been wanting to make this loaf after being mesmerised by the one that i saw at Jeannie's.  I couldn't get the beautiful swirls out of my mind :) Healthy ingredients make the push for making the loaf greater.  And as they say, the rest is history!

I couldn't wait to cut the loaf to check how the swirls turned out the moment it was ready.  Hence, the reason behind the why there is a different shades between the 2 photos.  The first one was taken immediately after the loaf was ready and it was already late evening by then whereas the one below was taken the next morning when there was plenty of light. If you can, have some patience, don't do what i did, one should only slice a loaf when it has cooled down :)) 

Mine was a little dry because it was a little over baked, i didn't realized the oven had beeped while i was yakking away on the phone but it tasted good overall.  I will definitely make this again whenever i miss those beautiful swirls!

Source: Baking Diary

  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup (62 ml) lukewarm water (1 large egg) 
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter or margarine (32g unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 cups (381 grams) bread flour
  • 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Chocolate layer
  • 30 gm chocolate
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

  1. Prepare the chocolate layer - melt the chocolate in a microwave by zapping it for about 40 seconds on high.  Then stir in the cocoa powder until mixture is smooth and has no visible lumps. Set aside until ready to use.  (I melted it using a double boil method)
  2. If using a bread machine, put in all the liquid ingredients first before adding the dry ingredients.  Use the dough mode to knead. (I used the bread machine)
  3. If kneading by hand, pour the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until it comes together to form a soft dough.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  4. If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky.  If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) at a time, to soften it up.
  5. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, remove about 1/4 of the dough into a separate mixing bowl.  Knead in the chocolate mixture.  
  6. Place each portion of the bread dough separately in lightly oiled bowls, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Once doubled, place the plain dough on a lightly floured surface.
  8. Gently punch the plain dough down and with a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle approx. 9”x12”. 
  9. Do the same for the chocolate dough, but roll out into a smaller rectangle approx 7"x 10".  Place this on top of the plain dough.  The chocolate dough should be well inside the plain dough.
  10. Fold over the plain dough (top, sides, bottom) to cover the chocolate layer.  Pat it flat so that it's easier to roll out next.  (Letter fold the plain dough over the chocolate layer)
  11. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape, and fold the dough in three lengthwise.
  12. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat step 10.  Roll the dough out into a rectangle and fold over into threes.  Turn.
  13. The more turns you made, the more layers and marbling you'll get.  I turned it about 5 times only as the layers were becoming quite thin.  (Keep turning and letter folding until the chocolate layer becomes very visible, lost count of how times i turned it)
  14. At the final rectangle, roll the dough up like a swiss roll into a loaf and tuck in the sides neatly.  Place the shaped dough into a loaf pan, cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 
  15. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
  16. When the shaped loaf has doubled, place the bread in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190F (I set mine to 35 minutes)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Pork Corn Anyone?

This is another very simple Vietnamese recipe.  After looking at quite a few recipes, i realised that Fish Sauce is a common ingredient in many Vietnamese dishes and it is quite amazing how this sauce brings out the umami flavor.

I decided to give this dish a try because i find this combination of pork and corn quite unique.  The contributor of the recipe mentioned that the inspiration for this dish came from a trend to include sweet corn in steamed rice.  All it takes is to marinade thin meat slices with some salt and pepper then stir fry it with corn kernels and some seasoning.  The contributor also suggested that the dish will go well with prawn crackers but i didn't have any on hand to try out unfortunately.

 A sweet and savory combination that went well with rice.  

Recipe-Fried Pork Belly with Sweet Corn Recipe (Thịt Ba Chỉ Xào Bắp)
Source: Vietnamese Food

  • 1 – 2 sweet corns (1 cup corn kernels)
  • 200g pork belly (160g pork belly)
  • Fish sauce,  (2 tbsp)
  • Spring onion (omitted)
  • Purple onion (3 shallots, sliced thinly)
  • Maggie Seasoning Powder (omitted) 
  • Onion (omitted)
  • Chili powder (omitted)
  • Salt 
  1. Remove kernels from corn cob or use readily available kernels.
  2. Clean pork belly, slice thinly then marinade with ½ teaspoon salt and a some freshly ground black pepper.  Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a little oil, stir fry shallots until fragrant.
  4. Add in pork belly slices and fry quickly over medium heat.
  5. Add some chili powder if favoured.
  6. When meat is cooked, add in corn kernel and fry for another 5-7 minutes or until corn is cooked.  
  7. Season with fish sauce and salt to suit preference.  It is ready when it smells fragrant.
  8. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
  9. Serve hot.

          The addition of cherry tomatoes was a personal touch from me to use up some that i had on hand, making it healthier and to brighten up the dish a little.  If used add in after sweet corn is cooked and just give it a quick mix.

          "I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indochina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks."

          Saturday, 7 June 2014

          Now Everyone Can Cook Vietnamese!

          Asian Food Fest blogging event is featuring Indochina this month. It is a path that i have never treaded on, both real land and in the kitchen except for one Vietnamese style chicken dish that was really popular in the blogsphere some time back.  I found this really simple and homey type of chicken dish to start rolling out some vietnamese flavor for this month.  This is something everyone can make, i assure you :)

          Easy peasy stuff, just throw everything in a pot and you are in for a delicious chicken dish in 30 minutes.  Just make sure you keep an eye on it and not burn the dish.   I find the taste quite similar to the chinese version of chicken braised with ginger.  Tasty, went well with rice.

          Recipe-Ga Kho Gung (Vietnamese Braised Chicken with Ginger)

          • Nuoc Mau (Vietnamese Caramel Sauce) - Replaced with 3 tbsp Indonesian Kecap Manis
          • 4 pieces of chicken, preferably thighs, cut into two-inch chunks if you wish - half a medium size chicken
          • 2 shallots or 1 small onion, diced small
          • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
          • 2-inch knob of ginger, sliced
          • 1 tbsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), or more according to taste - 2 tbsp 
          • 3 tsp sugar
          • 1/2 tsp salt
          • 1 tsp ground black pepper
          • 1 cup water
          1. Put all the ingredients in a pot and mix everything up.
          2. Cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked, the liquid starts reducing and a thick caramel sauce is formed.
          3. Serve hot!
          I did not make Nuoc Mau which is essentially a thick caramel sauce and said to be a basic ingredient for many Vietnamese braised dishes.   I chose the option of using Kecap Manis since i have it on hand.  Here's the link for making Nuoc Mau if you would like to make the dish more authentic.

          "I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest - Indochina hosted by Kelly Siew Cooks."


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